Rockies' Toglia belts third AFL homer
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Before Michael Toglia got to jog around the bases following a booming three-run homer that landed high up onto the berm beyond the right-field fence in the sixth inning, he had to wipe a defensive miscue from his mind.
“The ball is going to find you on both sides,” Toglia said. “So after making that error, I needed to flush it, get to the at-bat and not bring it into the box with me. And I’m pretty sure I did a good job of that.”
Toglia’s third roundtripper of the Arizona Fall League was a notable chapter in a topsy-turvy game Friday afternoon at Peoria Stadium. Salt River claimed its first lead on the 23-year-old’s blast before falling in walk-off fashion in 10 innings, 6-5, to Peoria.
Named to the Futures Game back in July, the Rockies’ No. 6 prospect has already stepped into the box against the top tier of Minor League pitching and passed early tests with flying colors. That day, he slugged a two-run homer.
His past successes have been parlayed into his present ones.
“There’s tons of talent out here, a lot of talented arms,” Toglia said after homering off No. 20 Braves prospect Victor Vodnik, who ramped up his fastball as high as 98 mph Friday. “Being on stages like UCLA and the Futures Game, it really prepares you for that.”
Now, Toglia boasts a .947 OPS through 11 Fall League games, leading Salt River in dingers.
“Timing and approach, that’s all it’s been so far,” Toglia said.
Standing 6-foot-5 and batting from both sides of the dish, Toglia has made extra-base power the name of his game. While 18 of his 22 home runs between High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford this season came as a left-handed batter, Toglia posted a higher OPS (.839) swinging right-handed than he did from the left side (.763).
Toglia, a first-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, has the combination of tools and size to make Rockies evaluators excited about the club’s long-term future at first base. Despite the fourth-inning error Friday, the left-handed-throwing first baseman’s highest-graded tool is his fielding (60, on the 20-80 scouting scale). He put those skills on display as recently as Thursday, snaring a foul popup while battling the netting down the first-base line during a loss to Surprise.
While the aforementioned power continues to blossom, its emergence could coincide with Toglia’s climb up the Rockies’ organizational ranks -- which boasts hitter-friendly stops along the way, before culminating at Coors Field.
As for the thought of hitting at Triple-A Albuquerque’s Isotopes Park -- a known hitter’s haven -- and in Denver in the future?
“It’s exciting,” Toglia said. “Hearing that all of these places are hitters' parks -- including Coors Field itself -- it gets you ready for what you’re about to face in the big leagues.”
Ultimately, time spent in the AFL is intended for just that: Major League prep. If early returns are any indication, Colorado will enjoy the multi-faceted progress that Toglia continues to make.